Solomon Alabi highlights front-court players in predraft workout
Solomon Alabi is 7 feet 1, so it was peculiar when during the final drill of another round of predraft workouts for the Washington Wizards today, he stepped behind the three-point line to attempt a shot that would have concluded his portion of the session. Alabi tried a couple times to no avail, and finally, he decided to alter his approach. Thus he stepped well inside the three-point arc, sank a jumper from the elbow and was done.
If the Wizards draft Alabi, they certainly won't expect him to take shots from that distance. He's no Dirk Nowitzki, and Alabi knows his future in the NBA is as a shot-blocker and imposing inside presence who occasionally can contribute on offense.
"No, not really," Alabi, who played at Florida State, said with a smile when asked if he would be taking three-pointers in the NBA. "Right here I was just trying to make it a little fun."
Alabi was among a handful of players, most notably in the front court, who worked out for the Wizards at Verizon Center four days before the draft. Others included center A.J. Ogilvy, a 6-11 center from Vanderbilt; 6-11 forward-center Magnum Rolle of Louisiana Tech; and Samardo Samuels, a 6-9 forward projected for the mid-second round in some mock drafts.
Alabi's stock has risen since the start of this process. Projected as a second-rounder after the NCAA season, Alabi figures to go perhaps mid- to late first round in a league where some high-profile 7-footers prefer shooting from the outside over defending on the interior.
While it's not likely Alabi will be available when the Wizards make the final selection of the first round, Samuels probably will be there and is all but certain to be available with the 35 overall pick, which Washington also owns.
Samuels came out of high school as one of the most touted players in the country but did not live up to expectations over two seasons at Louisville. That's why the Cardinals fan base and Coach Rick Pitino were caught a bit off guard when Samuels declared for the draft.
Still, Samuels, despite being undersized at power forward, could blossom into a physical presence the Wizards were sorely lacking last season after dealing Brendan Haywood, among others, to Dallas in a trade deadline deal.
"I think I'm way better than I was before," said Samuels, who averaged 15.3 points and seven rebounds per game last season. "My workouts have been going really well.
"The extra year, it [helped] my body as far as having an NBA body, getting stronger, getting quicker, stuff like that. Now I kind of know my game, what I am good at, what I'm not good at, my strengths and weaknesses."
June 21, 2010; 2:47 PM ET
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